Reverend John Bowers and Rebecca Gregson

My 10x Great Grandparents, John Bowers and Rebecca Gregson lived in Connecticut. John Bowers born about 1629 in England to George Bowers and Barbara Smith. Rebecca Gregson born about 1634 and was christened 6 Jan 1634 in St Augustine Wailing Street, London, England.

The Bower family moved to America about 1637 when John was still young. They first lived in Scituate, MA then moved to Plymouth, MA and one more move to Cambridge, MA. John attended Harvard and graduated in 1649. John then became a schoolmaster in Plymouth, MA. John had a little legal trouble in 1653. He accused Joane Barnes of slander and defamation and won 105 pounds plus cost of the suit. Then her husband sued John for trespassing and damage and had to pay 110 pounds.  So John came out with 215 pounds. As an aside, I tend to ignore the history of the country when I write these posts. But notice the people on the court. Some were on the Mayflower. Also, Thomas Prence who was the 4th Governor of the Plymouth Colony was my 10x GG.


In 1653, Governor Eaton invited John Bower to move to New Haven, CT to become the schoolmaster there. John was a classmate of Gov Eaton’s son. When John first moved to New Haven, he was found to be living with Thomas Kimberly who I have previously written about and is my 10x GG. The previous teacher complained that some of the students were not advanced enough for the school. John Bower took over in 1653 and by May of 1654, a complaint was made that John was taking time to teach the students their letters and that the study of Latin was lacking. So two townsmen came to the school and took the students who were behind and sent them home. While in New Haven, John married twice.

First, John Bower and Rebecca Gregson married around 1656 and it seems they had one child: Ruth 1657. Rebecca died sometime after Ruth’s birth.

John married a second time to Bridget Thompson in 1662 and had 6 children: Mary 1664, Samuel 1665, John 1667, Nathaniel 1673, Anna 1679, and Barbara 1681.

In 1657, he took the oath of fidelity in New Haven. By April 1660 John reports that he had 18 students but that only 6-8 usually showed up. He questioned if the school should stay open and the school did close.

John and family moved to Guilford, CT and he worked in the school during the week and shared the pulpit with John Cotton on Sundays 4 for years. The people didn’t generally like him in Guilford. The family then moved to Branford, CT and was there from 1667-1678 although based on what was written about him it seems he was not well liked which is how he was received in Guilford. Below is an excerpt describing him from Branford:

John and Bridget moved on to Derby, CT in 1678 where he was the minister there and received a home and 35 pounds a year plus firewood. His salary was raised regularly and by 1685 he was receiving 60 pounds. In 1684 he was no longer healthy and made his will providing for his wife and giving her the power to disperse the estate the way she chose. His signature is below:


John Bowers died 14 June 1687 and is buried in the Old Derby Uptown Burial Ground.

photo courtesy Nareen


John Bower and Rebecca Gregson, their daughter,

Ruth Bower and John Frisbie, their son,

Edward Frisbie and Mercy Ball, their son,

Gideon Frisbie and Desire Grannis, their son,

Philip Frisbee and Phoebe Hendricks, their son,

Gideon Frisbee and Huldah Kidder, their daughter,

Free love Frisbee and Jabez Bostwick, their son,

Jabez Bostwick married Sarah Jane Chase their son,

John Day Bostwick married Ida Shelby their son,

Charles Bostwick married Alpha Wilkins their daughter,

Florence Bostwick -my grandmother


Records of the colony of New Plymouth, in New England : printed by order of the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts New Plymouth Colony,Shurtleff, Nathaniel Bradstreet, 1810-1874,Pulsifer, David, 1802-1894 Volume 7 p 63.
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch( : 6 December 2014, Rebeccah Gregson, 06 Jan 1634); citing ST AUGUSTINE WATLING STREET,LONDON,LONDON,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 374,420.
Sibley, John Langdon Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts 1642-1658 Volume 1 p 192
Rev. John Bower, first minister at Derby, Conn., and his descendants Baldwin, C. C. (Charles Candee), 1834-1895
The history of the old town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642-1880. With biographies and genealogies
Orcutt, Samuel, 1824-1893,Beardsley, Ambrose, joint author
A history of the First Church and Society of Branford, Connecticut, 1644-1919 Simonds, J. Rupert (Jesse Rupert) p 38-40
The history of Guilford, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1639 Smith, Ralph Dunning, 1804-1874
Records of the colony and plantation of New-Haven, from 1638 to 1649 New-Haven Colony,New Haven (Conn.),Hoadly, Charles J. (Charles Jeremy), 1828-1900 p140
Find a Grave memorial 8635537 photo courtesy Nareen.

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